For many of us the data scandal scenario that was being presented to us in which Bernie Sanders was the offender and Hillary Clinton the innocent victim had an aura of unreality. But then we were told that the behavior of Sanders’ staffers was even worse than we knew. Heck, even Greg Mitchell tweeted that considering what happened, it made sense for Wasserman Schultz to shut Bernie out of the voter database. Even so, I still had nagging doubts, never mind the terribly calm and reasonable way in which Mitchell phrased his argument. For one thing, it was all too convenient coming as it did after Bernie received two important endorsements, not to mention right before the Democratic debate. And strangely, Mitchell didn’t mention that Wasserman Schultz violated her contractual obligations which include among other things the obligation to give the offending party time to correct the problem.((Ralph Ruchiano, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Unfairly Attempts to Damage Sanders Campaign? Engineering Evil, Dec. 18, 2015. Available: http://engineeringevil.com/2015/12/18/dnc-chair-rep-debbie-wasserman-schultz-unfairly-attempts-to-damage-sanders-campaign/)) Are we to understand that Greg Mitchell thinks the Democratic Party’s violation of its obligation to a candidate ‘makes sense’? Surely he can’t think that! We should probably delve a little deeper, don’t you think?
At the center of the whole crisis is data technician Josh Uretsky, who has said that he was only trying to assess the security breach and that there was no way the campaign could benefit from anything he did. Uretsky believed his actions were appropriate, and he has not been contradicted by those close to the campaign. Ted Devine, senior advisor to the Sanders campaign said Uretsky was fired because he hadn’t immediately reported the problem to top staffers.
Uretsky’s Philadelphia friends and associates are also finding the story hard to believe. Adam Bonin, a Philadelphia election-law attorney, said “It’s just impossible for me to imagine that he would be looking at this situation and say, ‘Let’s figure out how to exploit it for the campaign’.”
Dan Fee, a political consultant who runs the Echo Group in Philadelphia said that Uretsky has dedicated his life to trying to implement things that he believes in. Fee got to know Uretsky when Fee was managing a successful campaign in 2009 for District Attorney Seth Williams. Fee calls Uretsky, who was a field worker in the race, a man of ‘integrity’.
Kati Sipp, director of Pennsylvania Working Familes has worked with Uretsky on voter targeting efforts on various races over the past six years. Uretsky was Pennsylvania data and targeting manager for America Votes from November 2011 until September, when he left to join Sanders, but before that he was co-chair of Philadelphia for Obama, a grassroots group that formed separate from the Obama campaign apparatus. Sipp said she has always trusted him with important data. ((Maria Panaritis, Fired Sanders Staffer With Phila. Ties Not a Cheat, Associates Say. Dec. 19, 2015. Available: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20151220_Philadelphian_Uretsky_at_center_of_Dems__data_breach.html))
If this drama can’t be explained by questioning the character of either Bernie Sanders or Josh Uretsky, perhaps we should pursue another line of inquiry. The DNC would probably be the next place to look for answers.
The Sanders campaign has accused the DNC of favoring Clinton. Their evidence is the limited number of debates, as well as timing of those debates. Some of them have been held on weekends, assuring that many people won’t be watching them. The most recent one was held on the Saturday before Christmas and although it was supposed to begin at 8:00 at the last moment it was moved back to 8:30. And now we have the DNC’s curious handling of the data breach which resulted in a shut down of the Sanders campaign for an entire day.
There’s good news here and there’s bad news: The good news is that Sanders was probably right; the bad news is we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the shady dealings of the DNC in this campaign.
1. Wasserman has also been accused of rigging debate audiences to be friendly to Hillary Cliinton. It was Tom Fiegen who leveled this charge at the DNC after the second debate.
2. The Clinton campaign rented a campaign office within the local Democratic Party office in Nevada, a crucial early primary state. This was revealed by Pete Voelker in a recent VICE News report. According to Voelker, the walls are papered with Hillary Clinton signs but there are no signs for the other two Democratic candidates. Of course Clinton campaign spokeswoman Joan Kato denied there was any ‘co-mingling’ going on. However, the address of the campaign office is the same as the address of the local Party office. The campaign has also opened an office at the Carson City Democratic Party headquarters.
3. In New Hampshire, Democratic Party staffers rushed to join the Clinton campaign before Hillary announced her candidacy. According to WMUR, Mike Ollen, Gene Allen, and Liz Wester left their positions at the state party to join the Clinton campaign in early April 2015.
4. The DNC supposedly operates under strict rules of remaining impartial during the primary process until the nominee has been selected, but one top DNC official was just caught raising money for the Clinton campaign—Henry R. Muñoz III, who used to be a top fundraiser for President Obama, became the chief of the Party’s finance operations in 2013. He was caught fundraising for Clinton in San Antonio, Texas. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is directly responsible for this ethical (legal?) lapse, however she didn’t reprimand Muñoz;
5. The DNC lined up superdelegates, or party bosses, for Clinton before the first debate. This means they subverted the democratic process in an attempt to preemptively win the nomination before all 50 states have held their primary election. Superdelegates are typically DNC leaders and current and former elected officials ranging from governors to members of the US Congress. In August, before the first Democratic debate had taken place, the Clinton campaign reported that she had one-fifth of superdelegates already committed to backing her at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. According to Wikipedia, roughly half of the 700 + superdelegates have already committed to backing Hillary Clinton. ((Amanda Girard, 5 Times Debbie Wasserman Schultz Violated DNC Rules and Stacked the Deck in Favor of Clinton. USuncut.com, Dec. 20 2015. Available: usuncut.com/politics/debbie-wasserman-schultz-hillary-clinton/))
And finally, we can’t forget NGP-VAN, the company that hosts the Democratic Party’s database. The following information comes from Anthony Brian Logan at Greaterunderstanding.net. ((Anthony Brian Logan, Bernie Sanders Sues DNC in Federal Court, Follow the Rabbit Hole. Greaterunderstanding.net, Dec. 19, 2015. Available: http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/video-bernie-sanders-sues-dnc-in-federal-court-follow-the-rabbit-hole/))
The cofounder of NGP-VAN is Nathaniel Pearlman, who was the chief technical officer of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. At that time his company was called NGP Software, but it merged in 2010 with Mark Sullivan’s VAN (Voter Activation Network). Nathaniel Pearlman also has a graphic design Company, Graphicacy.
In the 2008 campaign Nathaniel Pearlman supervised Brian Pagliano, the guy who set up the server in Hillary Clinton’s house. He’s the one who pleaded the 5th in the Benghazi hearings. Pearlman also went to school with David DeCamillis, director of business development for Platte River Networks. Platte River Networks employs David Goodfriend of PR Company Dovetail Solutions. Goodfriend is a lobbyist and friend of John Podesta, Chair of Hillary’s 2016 campaign. He’s also chair of Center for American Progress and a client of Graphicacy.
At this point I think we at least have an explanation for why audit the documents relating to the data breach were provided to the Clinton campaign and not to the Sanders campaign. However, Logan provides some additional information which might be grounds for additional research.
There is a donation form online for the Clinton campaign powered by NGP VAN. Is this company processing donations and therefore taking a fee? What else is this company doing for the Clinton campaign? Is it designing the website and campaign material as well as printing and direct mailing?
The fact that the name of the head of NGP VAN is Aharon Wasserman is also a concern. It is not known if he is related to Wasserman Schultz.